nonsense of Western policy on Iran. Round after round of negotiations to try to persuade Iran not to get a bomb have been backed up by the implicit threat that armed force would be used if talks failed. But now it looks as though Iran will soon be in a position to build a weapon swiftly and surreptitiously. Should the West decide to use force, Iran could amass a small arsenal by the time support for a military strike was rallied... This newspaper has argued many times for doing so on humanitarian grounds; but Iran’s growing clout is another reason to intervene [in Syria], for it is not in the West’s interest that a state that sponsors terrorism and rejects Israel’s right to exist should become the regional hegemon. The West still has the economic and military clout to influence events in the region, and an interest in doing so. When Persian power is on the rise, it is not the time to back away from the Middle East. [The Economist]With such plain spoken journalism in the air, even Haaretz finds it timely to address the Iran question. When was the last time you saw a headline that came even close to the sentiment of today's major analysis piece by Ari Shavit?
Surprise: Netanyahu was rightThe subheading is no less striking
What the world promised would never happen is happening. What Israel’s defense establishment promised would never happen is happening. Iran is becoming a nuclear power, while Israel stands alone. [Haaretz]Here's a sound bite from the body of Shavit's important article:
From 2009 to 2012, a vigorous debate over Iran took place here. On one side were the optimists: President Shimon Peres, then-Mossad chief Meir Dagan, then-Shin Bet security service chief Yuval Diskin, then-Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi, the defense establishment, the media establishment and the refreshing spirit of hoping for the best. On the other side was a gloomy, besmirched pessimist: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.There is no shortage of concerned people asking, right now, so what do we do now? Shavit of Haaretz suggests:
America is there, said the optimists. No, it isn't, said the pessimist. There's a hidden hand, said the optimists. No, there isn't, said the pessimist. There's time, said the optimists. No, there isn't, said the pessimist. Iran's nuclear program must be stopped by the fall of 2012, the pessimist said. It's not Iran's nuclear program that's the problem, but the prime minister, the optimists said.
For three and a half years, the optimists went from one journalist to another and from one American to another and said that the pessimist is a dangerous purveyor of doom and gloom who sees molehills as mountains and doesn't understand that the world won't let Iran go nuclear. For three and a half years, the optimists tied the pessimist's hands on the basis of the threefold promise of America, the hidden hand and time.
But suddenly, this week, along comes The Economist and says that the optimists' absolute promise was a false promise. That it's too late. That the enriched uranium horses have already fled the stables. The international optimists and the Israeli optimists were wrong, big time. Surprise surprise: Benjamin Netanyahu was right. [Haaretz]
Perhaps an immediate, complete diplomatic and economic blockade of Iran could still cause it to suspend its nuclear program in order to preserve its regime. But anyone who wants to refute the prophecy of disaster diplomatically rather than militarily must act immediately. We're out of time. We're really out of time. Waking up at one minute to midnight will be hard. But waking up at one minute after midnight is liable to be catastrophic.